The program is a significant commitment. Participants will be expected to complete the I-Corps Short Course that requires attending two 3-6 hour long workshops in person during a two-week period and commit at least 3 – 5 hours per person per week to market research, customer discovery and other commercialization-focused activities. In addition, the teams are expected to have weekly meetings with their mentor, three biweekly meetings where teams present on their customer discovery process, a mid-program check-in conference call, and the Final Presentation Day where participants will show how their business ideas have developed over the course of the semester. Thus, getting a grant of up to $3,000 should not be the goal of any team – it is essential that the team members are eager to learn about Lean Startup, Business Model Generation, Customer Discovery, and Commercialization.
By the end of the program, your team can expect to accomplish the following:
- Learn the key concepts of business model generation and customer discovery
- Develop and test hypotheses about your business model
- Start research on competing patents and publications
- find general data on the size of your technology’s market and any key market trends
- Analyze several competitive products
- Engage with key stakeholders in your ecosystem
- Interview potential customers or end users
- Complete a business model canvas
- Learn about potential sources of early-stage commercialization funding and the common follow-on funding programs for which I-Corps participants are eligible
- Decide whether or not to pursue commercialization of your technology or idea
- Engage the Mason Technology Transfer Office
For specific dates and times, please consult the Program Calendar section.
Mentors will be assigned to teams to provide technical and industry expertise and business guidance throughout the program. Mentors will meet regularly (in-person, via phone, or via video-conference) with their team(s) to guide them through the customer discovery and business development process.